There's nothing like a fresh start. And that's what Friday provided the Live Oak varsity football team.
The hot August morning practice, which was followed by an afternoon session - officially uncorked the 2012 football season and the excitement spilled onto the field, as the Acorns literally took their first steps toward what they hope to be a redemptive year.
“This is a great time. We've been through the dog days of summer and the season starts now,” head coach Mike Gemo said. “The kids love the first day.”
A 1-9 finish to 2011 has only served as fuel to this season. The Acorns move down from the Mount Hamilton Division of the Blossom Valley League to the Santa Teresa Division and are determined to pull off a complete 180-degree turn.
“They kids are really ready to get after it,” Gemo said. “We have a good senior class that went through everything last year and made sure they put in the work during the offseason so that that doesn't happen again.”
Change, ultimately defined by the number of wins, is of the essence, but there are some familiar faces in charge of making sure victories add up.
That list starts with running back Trevor Bearden. The 6-foot-1, 210-pounder tallied 1,275 yards on the ground in 2011, good for fourth best in the Central Coast Section. He, naturally, will be the focal point of the Acorns' offense. However, quarterback Taylor Turnipseed is back under center after his 2011 was cut short due to injury, and a trio of wide receivers - Brandon Duran, Jerardo Caro and Joey Rodriguez - will supplement the Acorns' offense.
“We are going to be very young on the offensive line, but we have our quarterback coming back and some skill players back, and we are really looking forward to watching these kids grow during the season,” Gemo said.
Adding some clout to the backfield will be fullback Mark Butterworth, who made the switch from tight end with ease, Gemo said.
“He has taken it on with a full head of steam,” Gemo added.
• Thirst-eight varsity players were in action over the first few days of practice.
“It’s a little low for us right now. It is what it is given the school size,” Gemo said.
• The Acorns kick off the regular season Aug. 31 versus Gilroy High. A full team preview will run in the Times prior to opening night.